Today’s special edition of Dateline Disneyland takes a look at the spectacular new Poster Art of Disney Parks art book now available at Disney theme parks. Written by Imagineers Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt, the beautiful new volume takes an in-depth look at the history and design behind the iconic theme park attraction posters that greet guests at Disney parks around the world. Join us today as we chat with Walt Disney Imagineer and co-author Vanessa Hunt about the new book.

Poster Art of the Disney Parks:
A Chat with Imagineer & Author Vanessa Hunt

Disney’s latest offering in large-format theme park art books is the wonderful new Poster Art of Disney Parks, meticulously researched and written by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt. Iconic and attention-grabbing, Disney attraction posters are a unique art form that every Disney theme park guest is familiar with and likely has strong memories of. With over 300 images and photos, this new 144-page, 11×14-inch coffee table book is the most comprehensive catalogue of Disney attraction posters publicly available.

Smartly organized land-by-land, the book allows each chapter to give a comprehensive look at attraction posters from the lands of Disney’s Magic Kingdom-style parks around the world. Handke and Hunt spent countless hours of research including nearly 20 interviews for the book. Each chapter reflects this strong attention to detail, offering great historical insight to the creation and stories behind these works of art. Non-Castle parks such as Tokyo Disney Sea or the newly-relaunched Disney California Adventure receive their own chapters, featuring many beautiful prints. Some of these include Tokyo’s stunning Journey to the Center of the Earth poster as well as California Adventure’s new Red Car Trolley design.

The book takes a land-by-land look at attraction posters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom-style parks around the world.

The posters are presented here in stunning full-color with specific care taken to ensure color accuracy; Disney sent Pantone color call-outs to the printer to ensure exact color replication. In addition to the posters that we all know and love such as The Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean, the book also features a look inside the creative process with poster concept art. The full-page of concept sketches by Disney Legend Sam McKim for the Walt Disney World Jungle Cruise, for example, is certainly a highlight. Rare posters are also present here, including a design for Disneyland’s Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.

Poster Art of the Disney Parks hit store shelves across the Disneyland Resort earlier this August, with initial quantities selling out in about three days. The book received a formal send-off on August 18 when its authors joined other Disney Imagineers for a book signing at the Main Street Opera House. Some of these fellow Imagineers included Tony Baxter and Disney Legend Rolly Crump. The title has proven to be so popular that a second printing has already been ordered to meet demand and the book’s authors plan on appearing at a second book signing early next month in Torrance, California. Beyond Disney’s theme parks, you can find the book at booksellers and online starting September 11.

I was lucky enough to recently have a chat with Imagineer and book co-author Vanessa Hunt about the new book and the story behind it. Take a look at our talk below.

The evolution of an attraction poster: Various Space Mountain posters from throughout the years and around the world.

Andy Castro: What’s your role at Disney and how long have you been with the company?
Vanessa Hunt: I am part of the team in the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library. We are the home of the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Collection which consists of almost 110,000 pieces of Imagineering created artwork. I have been in this role for about 5 years now and originally started with Disney Store almost 11 years ago.

Park posters have been featured in Disney theme park books before, but never on such an in-depth and large scale. How’d the concept for a book about theme park attraction posters come about?
It started when Danny Handke and I were discussing Disney Books and he said he wanted to do an attraction poster book to sell in the Imagineering store (Mickey’s of Glendale). Being a big fan of Disney art books I got excited by his idea and said it needed to be a real coffee table “art of” book which of course he agreed with. So I took the idea to Jeff Kurtti (who regularly works with the Art Library) and he took it to Disney Editions. They loved it and said “yes” almost immediately.

A side-by-side comparison of Disneyland’s original Enchanted Tiki Room poster and the poster for its sister show at Walt Disney World.

How long has this book been in the works for? Were there any unique challenges in getting it made?
Four very long years. There were many challenges. I would say the most unique challenge was getting all of the artwork suitable for printing. That took the most time and involved many people trying to make it happen. And organizing all of that was a challenge. Pulling original artwork, getting it scanned by our Photographer, then working with my Art Library co-workers to digitally clean files took a very long time.

The book features some never-before-seen posters and poster concept art. Can you tell us more about these pieces and how you came about finding them?
Nothing was really “newly discovered.” Our collection is very well organized so the never-before-seen artwork simply had not been cataloged or photographed before this project came along. An archival box labeled “attraction posters” had a few gems in it and a drawer full of art from one of our former Graphic Designers had those Monorail posters that show the silk-screen process.

A two-page spread in the book illustrates “The Imagineering Guide to Screen Printing”

I understand great care was taken in faithfully and accurately recreating the poster art in this book. What kinds of challenges did you face in accurately transferring the art, some of which is over fifty-five years old, into this book?
Our Photographer re-scanned about 80 posters. Those plus a bunch of others that weren’t already digitally cleaned had to be cleaned. So that was many months of work that took 3 of us to do it! When our artwork is reproduced, we want it to look as it would have originally looked. That means creases, tears, dirt, etc. all have to be edited out digitally. Color accuracy is also very important, as you saw on the Parks Blog, we Pantone matched a handful of the 50s posters that didn’t look quite right in the proofs.

What is your favorite piece in the book?
I really love the Grand Canyon Diorama poster but I also love all the poster concepts. The Sam McKim Jungle Cruise page is fantastic!!

Can we expect more books from you in the future?
Oh dear, I would love to be able to share more art from our collection so I would say anything’s possible…

Disney’s non-Castle parks with their own posters receive special chapters, including the relaunched Disney California Adventure.

I picked up a copy of this book when it was first available at Disneyland and instantly fell in love. You can see just how much its authors loved the subject matter when you flip through the pages. It’s a must-own for any Disney theme park fan and the type of item I wish Disney would release more of.

You can buy the book now on Amazon for only $24.44, a 39% savings over the $40 list price.
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If you’d like to buy a copy of the book, support a local Los Angeles-area book store and get your book signed by its authors (and Imagineer Tony Baxter!) then be sure to check out the book signing at Stuart Ng Books on September 8:

‘Poster Art of the Disney Parks’ Book Signing

With Imagineers and Authors Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt, Imagineer Tony Baxter and other special guest Imagineers.

Saturday, September 8th, from 4:00 to 6:00pm
Stuart Ng Books
20655 S Western Ave
Suite 104
Torrance, CA 90501

More Information:

That wraps up our look at the new “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book, a title we think is a must-own for every Disney theme park fan. Don’t miss out and buy your copy today!

A very big thank you to Vanessa Hunt for being so gracious and enthusiastic.

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Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
[B]- Andy[/B]

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